Welcome

ANALYSIS: Survey Shows High Hopes, Restored Pay at Law Firms

June 18, 2021, 1:15 PM

Despite all the uncertainty of last year, attorneys believe their law firms are equipped to roll with the punches through the rest of 2021. Bloomberg Law surveyed 256 lawyers in April and May to get a read on how law firms are navigating the current legal environment one year after the start of the pandemic.

Eighty-two percent of respondents to the Law Firm Benchmarks Survey are confident that their law firm can achieve its financial goals this year, which is a 20 percentage-point increase from last year. And three-quarters of respondents believe their law firm is prepared for the pandemic-related changes in legal practice that have occurred and may continue to occur.

Law firms’ preservative reactions to the pandemic had them singing quite a different tune over much of the past year. Just over half (51%) of respondents to the 2021 survey reported that their law firm had implemented measures to reduce costs since the pandemic began, including pay cuts, layoffs, furloughs, early retirement, and mandatory retirement.

Pay cuts provide an illustration of law firms’ resilience. Of the one-third of respondents (33%) whose firms instituted pay cuts, it appears that most (71%) were able to bounce back by both reinstating pay to previous levels and reimbursing the amounts lost due to cuts. Another 9% reported that their pay was reinstated to previous levels but were not reimbursed. For both groups, these pay cuts tended to last between four and six months.

Made with Flourish

If you are having trouble viewing this interactive graphic, please enable third-party cookies on your browser. Terminal users, please click here.

Meanwhile, business is looking up. Most survey respondents (54%) are experiencing an increased demand for legal services, and 68% expect demand to increase over the next six months. Law firms have not only been able to demonstrate their resiliency throughout the pandemic but also project the possibility of impressive growth and adaptability throughout 2021.

Made with Flourish

If you are having trouble viewing this interactive graphic, please enable third-party cookies on your browser. Terminal users, please click here.

And lawyer pay increases have been sweeping the industry over the past weeks, which is more evidence that law firm business is doing well.

(This article was updated Aug. 16 to correct the scope of the increase in respondents’ confidence from the previous year.)

Bloomberg Law subscribers can find related content on our Surveys, Reports & Data Analysis page.

If you’re reading this article on the Bloomberg Terminal, please run BLAW OUT to access the hyperlinked content or click here to view the web version of this article.

To read more articles log in. To learn more about a subscription click here.